I’m officially back on the Shakespeare-wagon, for now at least. Over the last weekend I managed not only one but two plays by the bard.
Reading A midsummer night’s dream during the Midsummer holiday is the sort of pretentious curated thing I like to do and as it turns out I’m not alone in that. When I posted on IG a few people commented that they wanted to or had done the same and in my feed I saw a few people who also saw an opportunity for life-literature symmetry. I won’t make a yearly ritual of it but I will probably read it again at some point. (And yes; I did read Twelfth night on the actual Twelfth night, of course I did).
A midsummer night’s dream is a good read if somewhat confusing; all that talk about dreaming even though no one actually dreams. It’s also very interesting with the play within the play( which is also the case in Hamlet). Introduction and commentary was read with pen in hand to take notes and I also got out my Introducing Shakespeare by G.B Harrison to make matters clear in the matter of Elizabethan theater, which is fascinating and I more and more feel like I need to read up on the subject and the bard himself. Should have done so last year, obviously, and read Austen this year (it’s 200 years since she died) but instead I did it the other way around. (So much for life-literature symmetry.)
My limited experience of reading Shakespeare has led me to believe that the comedies are fun while you read them, all that witty banter, where as the tragedies are more interesting to have read as references in other works make sense. Well Hamlet proved that hypothesis wrong. Of the handfull plays I have read this is the best one yet. The dialogue is gold and the expressions are colorful. It all become very vivid and even though I notice the gaps in time I don’t mind. This one also had a different translator and I don’t know if that matters. I’m still reading them in Swedish but have seen a few editions with the original text and the translation side by side so maybe I will ease in to that. Sidenote; Just after reading Hamlet I watch the Ghostbuster movie from the 80’s. a brilliant pairing I tell you. From one haunting ghost to another.
I’ve seen a fair few adaptations on stage and screen, and I look forward to reading more of those as the memories adds to the text; it’s easier to imagine the dialogue. I’m thinking Richard III next as it is one of the best productions I’ve seen; both on stage and in the Ian McKellan movie. And I totally need to get working on some Shakespeare themed cocktails.
In short; so far we have Hamlet and Twelfth night in the lead for my favorite Shakespeare play but I’ve got like a dozen or so more to read.